Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Saydnaya (ray traces), 2017

Hammer Projects: Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Through an installation of audiovisual works, Lawrence Abu Hamdan continues an ongoing acoustic investigation into a Syrian military prison north of Damascus.

In 2016, artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan began an acoustic investigation into Sayndaya, a Syrian military prison north of Damascus. Given that the prison has remained inaccessible to independent monitors and observers and that most detainees are kept in total darkness, Abu Hamdan designed “ear witness” interviews to reconstruct the conditions of the prison and its architectural plans through the acoustic memories of surviving former detainees. These interviews formed a central component of a report on the prison for Amnesty International and the independent research group Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. Based on the findings of the report, Abu Hamdan initiated a body of work that experiments with the means by which crimes at the threshold of perception can become documented. For this exhibition, Abu Hamdan will present the first two works in this ongoing project. The project’s two parts respectively utilize techniques of measuring silence and mapping acoustic leakage, showing the ways in which sound becomes sight and sight becomes sound—the results of communication and perception being violently forced to the limits of both sensory fields. 

Hammer Projects: Lawrence Abu Hamdan is organized by Aram Moshayedi, curator, with Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, curatorial assistant. 


Lawrence Abu Hamdan (b. 1985, Amman, Jordan) currently lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon and Berlin. He has had solo exhibitions at Portikus, Frankfurt (2016); Kunsthalle St. Gallen, Switzerland (2015); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2014); and The Showroom, London (2012). Abu Hamdan participated in the Sharjah Biennial 13, UAE (2017); Liverpool Biennial (2016); 11th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2016); and New Museum Triennial, New York (2012). Other notable group exhibitions have taken place at Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2017); Museum Folkwang Essen, Germany (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (2014); Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon (2014); and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2012); among others. Abu Hamdan was awarded the Abraaj Group Art Prize in 2018 and the International Nam June Paik Award in 2016.

Hammer Projects is presented in memory of Tom Slaughter and with support from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Hammer Projects is made possible by a gift from Hope Warschaw and John Law. Generous support is also provided by Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy. Additional support is provided by Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley.